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Allies of Alexei Navalny say they haven’t heard from him in 6 days

TALLINN, Estonia – Allies of imprisoned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny sounded the alarm on Monday, saying neither they nor the politician's lawyer had heard from him in six days.

Spokesperson Kira Yarmysh said Navalny, who is serving a 19-year term on extremism charges, was scheduled to appear in court via video link on Monday but did not appear.

She said prison officials cited electrical problems. Yarmysh said his lawyers have also not been able to access Navalny in recent days.

“It's already been 6 days in a row that we don't know where Alexei is or what's happening to him,” Yarmysh wrote on X (formerly Twitter).

Navalny, 47, has been in prison since January 2021.

As President Vladimir Putin's fiercest enemy, he campaigned against government corruption and organized massive anti-Kremlin protests. His arrest took place when he returned to Moscow from Germany. He was there recovering from nerve agent poisoning and blamed the Kremlin.

Navalny was subsequently sentenced to three prison terms for minor offenses and spent several months in isolation in a penal colony in the Vladimir region, east of Moscow.


Allies and lawyers of imprisoned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny have claimed they have not seen him in six days. Reuters/Evgenia Novogenina/File photo

He denies all charges against him, calling them politically motivated.

Yarmysh said last week that Navalny's lawyers spent hours waiting for permission to visit him at the penal colony for three consecutive days, but were refused at the last minute.

The politician's letter was not delivered and he did not appear via video link at a scheduled court hearing.


Navalny is serving a 19-year sentence on extremism charges.
Navalny is serving a 19-year sentence on extremism charges. AP

Yarmysh said on Friday that the development was worrying given Navalny's recent illness. “He felt dizzy and lay on the floor. Prison officials rushed in and spread out the bed. They placed Alexei on top of him and put him on an IV. We don't know what caused it, but he was left unfed, kept in a cell with no ventilation, and given minimal time outdoors. Now that I think about it, I think I passed out from hunger.”

She added that a lawyer visited him after the incident and he “seemed more or less fine.”

Navalny will be transferred to a “special security” penal colony, the highest-security facility in Russia's prison system.

Prison transfers in Russia are notorious for taking long periods of time, sometimes weeks, during which prisoners are inaccessible and information about their whereabouts is limited or unavailable.

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